Meet my sweet friend and Guest Blogger Starr….oh how I love her face and the spunk that envelopes her. She is an honest, open, love of a lady whom I am blessed to call a friend.
My name is Starr and I am 56 years old. I have 4 grown biological children all living on their own. My son Sky 35 years old, my daughter Rose 29 years old and my twins Grace and Marley soon to be 23 years old. My husband died 17 years ago and we had always wanted to adopt because he himself was adopted from Germany as an infant. That is what brought me to adoption after many years of grieving over his death.
I have completed 3 adoptions. They were all as different as the children that came home and everyone so worth the work and the wait and the unbelievable amounts of money they took to complete. What a shame Agencies and Foreign countries don’t pay the Adoptive parents to adopt children instead of the other way around.
My first adoption was completed in 2011, and Ziggy Lion (a healthy boy) came home from Ethiopia for good in September that year. He was 14 months old. I paid from my savings for this adoption because I didn’t know there was such a thing as fundraising back then. The process was pretty standard. I got my Home Study completed and proceeded with all the Doctor’s appointments, paper chasing and numerous fingerprinting. From the time I was logged in to Ethiopia, it took about 8 months to get the referral of my baby that I had been waiting for. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever see.
I said yes! 4 months later we were on the plane to Addis to meet our newest team member. We spent a whole week loving this tiny 10-month-old as if he’d always been ours. He was learning to walk. I was so excited every time he got to get out of his crib and practice walking. Then we had to say goodbye for another 4 months. This was by far the hardest part, in fact, to date, it has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced.
How does a mother shower her son with a love he has never known and then leave him abandoned once again? It broke me. I prayed he would remember me and forgive me. 4 months later we flew to Ethiopia again to bring Ziggy home. He hadn’t forgotten, and he was forgiving. We picked up right where we had left off. It was amazing. He had regressed in his ability to stand and walk. This is because as children that age get mobile, they are confined. In his case, to a stroller. After a few months home, he was running. Ziggy adjusted beautifully and had never looked back.
I started my 2nd Adoption in 2006, but because I was waiting for a ‘healthy’ child and China had just changed all their rules, the wait turned from 14 months to 10 years. Every year I prayed and asked God if Zoie was a Special Needs child and was told to stay on the healthy track. I listened and completed Ziggy’s adoption while waiting for my girl.
In 2013 we moved out of state, and before my boxes were even unpacked, I got a message from God saying I need to update my home study because Zoie was here and she had special needs. A few months later I was waiting for a referral for a child with limb differences or microtia (missing ear). In October of 2014, I received a random referral of a little girl with developmental delays who was attached to her foster mother. I didn’t think this was my child because she had a different SN, but I had to look anyway, and I recognized her!
I knew this was my Zoie Love. She was 2 years old, and her name was Mi which we had decided to keep for her middle name which made her name Zoie Love Mi. Haha! That was when I was sure. In April 2015 we were on the plane to meet Zoie and bring her home. She was distraught to leave her foster family, the only family she had ever known and screamed for what seemed like forever when we first met. She refused me after that for the first 3 days but would go to all my older children.
I took her shopping. Then, I put her in a shopping cart. In her little mind, this is what a mother does. Only then was she ready to accept me. It was a happy day. Zoie adjusted beautifully to our family, she adores all her older brothers and sisters and worships her brother Ziggy. He dotes on her. She and Ziggy have been tied at the hip since she has been home. It turned out that Zoie didn’t have any sort of developmental delay at all.
I found out children are frequently given this diagnosis to get them into an orphanage. It turned out she instead had Cerebral Palsy, though quite mild, causing her to walk on her right tiptoe and hold her right arm at her chest. It doesn’t affect anything she wants to do. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t slow her down a bit. She wears a brace to prevent contracture in her ankle, and that’s it. She is 5 now and starting to read and write. I was done. Funny enough, I had named Ziggy and Zoie with a Z signifying the end of my procreation so to speak. I was happy and full.
About 3 months home with Zoie, I decided to check on a little girl. I had seen her on the ‘shred list while waiting for Zoie to see if she had finally been scooped up by a family, but to my dismay there she still was. A Special Focus Child. She had Down Syndrome and the cutest little face. I was so sad for her still being in the orphanage. She had always stood out to me for some reason. That’s when God said she was my child. But I said no. Down Syndrome wasn’t even on my list of special needs I was comfortable with.
I knew it was just too hard for me. Plus I had NO money, no money at all. It was impossible. If you have ever argued with God and tried to deny what he has sent you to do you know how that went. 3 months later I was starting the process to bring Daisy home. I told all the kids. Her picture was on the mantle with the other kids.
Then my Agency said that unfortunately they didn’t realize my age and I was in fact too old to adopt her. I was gutted. 2 months later I had my 1st post placement visit with Zoie and told my Social Worker the devastating news about Daisy. He suggested I contact his Agency to see what they could do. Agape Adoptions. 2 weeks later I had pre-approval to bring Daisy home. I wasn’t too old! That just left me with 34,000 dollars I needed to raise to bring her home. That was hard. It was hard to believe I could raise such a huge amount of money. I cried so much during those months that followed. Finding Faith only to lose it over and over again. But God did not disappoint.
God Showed Up
And neither did a bunch of people I had never met that donated and bought things I was selling. That along with donations from some extraordinary friends and family got me to my goal 3 days before we traveled to China to meet and bring home Daisy Faith Yu. She ran right into my arms, and I finally exhaled. She was 4 years old. This child was not what I was expecting. It was soon obvious that she had been horribly neglected and abused. I came to believe the only time she had ever been untied from her crib was to create the one video that I had received making it seem as though she was attending some wonderful classroom where she was being loved and played with and taught some skills every day.
She didn’t know how to interact with people. Sadly, she did not know what toys were for. She didn’t really have any emotions. She threw everything as hard as she could. That’s all she did. It was hard that 1st month. I was angry with God. Several times, I asked him what was he thinking and that I couldn’t do this. Seriously, I was too old! But every day, little by little Daisy came out of her wild little animal shell. She learned to play with toys. Finally, she came to me for comfort. Then, she started to smile and belly laugh and cry appropriately.
What a Difference a Year Makes
Daisy has been home a bit over a year now. The change in her is phenomenal. She is brilliant, curious, and mischievous. Also, she is a big helper and the first to give out hugs and kisses whether needed or not. Finally, she is a love. All her brothers and sisters adore her, and she loves them. Daisy has speech apraxia so she cannot speak or repeat words or sounds. There are some sounds she makes, some signs she uses but mostly Daisy communicates by using charades. I am hoping that as she grows, she can learn to speak and use a communication device.
Adoption is Hard
Adoption is hard. It is hard to get scrutinized over and over. The fact that every bit of your life is looked into and judged. The end result is what you focus on. It is so very well worth it all when your child comes home, and you are able to witness what Love of a Family and some good food can actually do. You are able to witness a true Miracle!